Project Name: Developing Socially and Economically Generative, Resilient PV-Energy Systems for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities: Applications for Puerto Rico
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Soft Costs
Location: Tempe, AZ
SETO Award Amount: $1,065,891
Awardee Cost Share: $303,975
Principal Investigator: Clark Miller

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project analyzes the relationship between energy and poverty in low-income communities in Puerto Rico. Through community-level case studies, the researchers will identify and evaluate solar energy solutions that help to address energy-related poverty. They will work directly with the selected communities to develop plans that will allow more people to go solar. The team will also disseminate results and lessons learned from their case studies, with the goal of reducing energy poverty in more low-income communities in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the U.S.

APPROACH

The team began the project by analyzing the potential for solar on rooftops, energy demand and cost patterns, the relationship between energy and poverty, policies around solar, and the current solar market in low-income communities across Puerto Rico. With this information, they selected several low-income communities for case study research. In those communities, they are performing deeper analyses of the energy-poverty nexus and will develop financial and energy demand models that inform solar planning. Finally, the team will develop a curriculum to enable these communities to go solar, and will collaborate with these communities to design and plan their solar energy future.

INNOVATION

While poverty and energy burden are known to be associated, this team is performing a detailed study of the relationship between energy and poverty to inform designs and plans for installing solar in low-income communities in Puerto Rico. This project will aid in quantifying the value of solar, especially to low-income communities, and will provide lessons that can be used to alleviate energy-related poverty in other communities in Puerto Rico and the U.S.